Recently an author approached me with a common issue: besides her family and really good friends, she didn’t sell a single book. Nope. Not a single one. Oh, and she’s written three books.
Yeah, I’m approached about this issue at least six times a week. When I am, I always ask the same question: What’s your ultimate goal?
You see, if your goal is to simply write, then by publishing your work, you are accomplishing your goal. Ah, if, however, you want to write and make some money from your writing, then you need a new approach.
Huh, the good news is, there is an easy fix to your problem. It’s just a matter of writing and publishing exactly what readers want.
That’s it. Easy, right?
Okay, I won’t leave you hanging. So, how do we find out exactly what readers want?
Well, Amazon tells us. Yeah, really.
Here’s the deal: When customers search for a book, they typically do it in one of two ways. They either type the name of the book directly into the Amazon search box or they type in a subject of interest. Now, if we can find out exactly what the millions of browsers are looking for, we can write to that specific interest or need.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Cool. So, how do we do that?
I’m going to show you right now. Just follow the steps below and you will be writing a bestseller in no time. Okay, it’s going to take you some time. But, you get the point.
When you fire up Amazon.com, it’s main screen will present as it is above. Because we are interested in identifying the best keywords for our title, we will place our focus on the search box. Currently, it will perform a search on all Amazon departments. Of course, we are interested in books.
So, simply select the “ALL” label and a drop-down menu will appear. See, like magic, right?
Okay, select “Books”. Well, that was obvious.
Now, for a quick note: I am writing this tutorial as if you have no knowledge of Amazon. Hey, you never know who was sleeping under a bridge.
Calm down kids. Let’s get back on track.
Okay, the first thing you want to do in the book search box is enter a term or keyword related to a book you are writing or thinking about writing. I selected “coconut” because it is a hot topic.
As you type, Amazon will begin offering you suggestions. It’s as if they are reading your mind. Oh, creepy. But, wait. How in the hell do they know that you might be interested in those terms? Well, they don’t. What they do know is what terms or keywords past customers have searched. So, they collect all of the search terms and spit out suggestions to us based on the search habits of others.
Now, this is big: you see, these suggestions are also composed of keywords in titles of books that customers have purchased.
Did you get that?
It’s worth repeating. Because Amazon customers have purchased books with specific titles, or keywords, Amazon has determined that these are hot keywords. This fact is key.
Okay, what this all means is, if your book has these terms or keywords in its title, your book is likely to end up on page one when a customer does a search. Yeah, that’s big.
But, let’s break this thing down even more. What I’m suggesting to you, no pun intended, is that your book must have these keywords in its title if you want customers to find your book. And, if they find your book, they may read the description. Then they may look inside and buy that bad boy. Cha-ching.
Let’s get back to the exercise.
Alright, take a look at what Amazon is suggesting. I typed in coconut and Amazon immediately offered “coconut oil”. This suggestion tells us that coconut oil is a super hot keyword. In other words, any title with those words are likely to appear on page one. Of course, there are other factors. But, having these words is a great start.
Look at the first suggestion after the word “oil”. It is the word “miracle”. Again, any book with a title that includes coconut oil miracle is likely to end up on the first page.
Take a look at the title of the first book: The Coconut Oil Miracle. Bam. There it is.
Okay, what about the second? Well, they have coconut oil listed five times. Wow. Talk about keyword stuffing.
Yeah, I read your mind: What if you don’t want to write about, say, “coconut oil miracles”? Yeah, I feel you. I don’t either.
The good news is, there are other options. Take a look at the various titles below. Do you see any patterns? Well, there is “coconut oil for weight loss” and “coconut oil benefits”. Of course, there has to be one on “natural remedies”. Yeah, the point is, you have many options. And these options have been tested and handed to you on a platter by good ole Amazon.
One final note: This is a basic, yet effective approach. It will take some practice and attention. In future posts, I will cover keywords in your descriptions, word density (how often a specific keyword pops up in, say, the first 20 titles) and actual sales figures. It should be noted that Amazon doesn’t release book revenue or unit volume. However, I have access to close approximations. Oh, and it’s all done automatically. Of course, you can purchase one of our category and title reports, which tells you the exact words to use in your titles and the number of books you can expect to sell, but that’s not necessary. I would only recommend this report for those who want to make writing their living.
Okay, there you have it. Now, get to work!